October 21st, 2014
IMR is bringing out a new series of advanced-formulation extruded powders. In 2015, IMR will introduce three (3) new Enduron powders: IMR 4166, IMR 4451, and IMR 7977. The new line of IMR Enduron powders feature small kernels for easy metering, plus a built-in copper fouling eliminator. IMR claims that Enduron powders are not sensitive to temperature changes. If this is true, these powders should prove popular, particularly IMR 4166 which seems to be in the Varget/Reloder 15 burn-rate range. With Varget so hard to find, if IMR 4166 proves accurate (and available) we might see many .308 Win shooters make the switch. IMR states that IMR 4166 is a “versatile, match grade propellant”. We’ve been quite pleased with IMR 8208 XBR as a Varget alternative. IMR 8208 XBR is accurate, clean-burning, and offers good velocity. Perhaps the new IMR 4166 will be as good or better.
When will Enduron powders appear on dealers’ shelves? Hodgdon Powder Co., distributors of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders, says that: “The new IMR Enduron™ Technology powders will be available at dealers in early 2015 in 1-pound and 8-pound containers.” For more information and Enduron LOAD DATA visit imrpowder.com or check the 2015 Hodgdon Annual Manual.
IMR’s press release provides these descriptions of the new Enduron propellants:
IMR 4166 is the first in the series of Enduron™ propellants. It’s a perfect burn speed for cartridges like the 308 Win/7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Remington, 257 Roberts and dozens more.
IMR 4451 Another new Enduron powder that gives top performance in the venerable .30-06, 270 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Short Magnum, to name just a few. This propellant is ideally suited for many mid-range burn speed cartridges.
IMR 7977 is the slowest burn rate Enduron Technology powder. It is a true magnum cartridge propellant with outstanding performance in such cartridges as the .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .338 Lapua and more.
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August 22nd, 2014
Click image to go to Grafs.com
Grafs.com now has many popular IMR Powders in stock (see inventory below). And, the price is right on IMR 4895 and IMR 4350 — Just $24.99 per pound with current sale pricing. Act soon, as quantities are limited. Note, for IMR 4895 and IMR 4350, customers are limited to ten (10) pounds of each propellant per order (that’s ten, 1-lb containers of each).
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August 4th, 2014
Midsouth Shooters Supply has received a substantial amount of popular reloading powders. This is good news for folks who have been short on powder. No, there’s still no Hodgdon Varget or H4350, but Midsouth does have many other great propellants in stock. Hodgdon powders in stock today include the popular H322, Benchmark, Retumbo, H50BMG, and US 869 (a spherical powder for big magnums). IMR propellants in stock include IMR 4227, IMR 4320, IMR 4831, IMR 4895, IMR 7828SSC, IMR 8208 XBR. Midsouth also hase Vihtavuori N135, N160, and N165 in stock now.
CLICK HERE for Smokeless Powder in Stock at Midsouth Shooters Supply.
Partial Selection of Powders Currently in Stock at Midsouth:
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February 18th, 2014
Hodgdon has rolled out a completely updated online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the enhanced Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.
As before, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is now faster and easier to use. Navigation is simplified and the whole interface is more user-friendly.
You’ll notice changes in the way the online Data Center works. Now you have more control over the results. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.
Mobile users will notice that the updated/enhanced Reloading Center is much more “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.
Hodgdon tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 2nd, 2012
After 65 years in the same Merriam, Kansas location, Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc., a leading provider of smokeless and muzzleloading powders, has moved into new corporate headquarters on Vista Drive in Shawnee, Kansas.
In 1947 Company founder Bruce Hodgdon originally established his powder business in Merriam, Kansas. This same location had served as the company headquarters for the past six and a half decades. However, Hodgdon’s operations have outgrown the original facility. So, a new, larger facility has been established just eight miles from the old location. The new Corporate Headquarters in Shawnee, KS offers a museum, first class reloading training facilities, conference rooms, guest lobby, and modern office space for staff.
READ History of Hodgdon Powder Company.
Commenting on the move, CEO Tom Shepherd said, “This is a new era and exciting time for Hodgdon, after months of preparation we are delighted to have secured this facility for future growth opportunities.” To find out more about Hodgdon visit hodgdon.com, write to 6430 Vista Drive, Shawnee, KS 66218 or call 913-362-9455.
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November 22nd, 2011
Hodgdon® Powder Co. will release its 9th Annual Manual early next year. The 2012 Hodgdon Annual Manual features 100+ pages of rifle and pistol data with over 5,000 load recipes. The load data covers 30 Hodgdon, 19 IMR® and 10 Winchester® brand powders. New content this year includes: 300 AAC Blackout load data, and lead-free bullet recipes for 21 rifle cartridges. In addition, the new 2012 Manual spotlights Hodgdon’s new CFE™223 propellant. Tests of this new powder show that it can deter copper fouling in many cartridge types (“CFE” stand for “Copper Fouling Eraser”). The 2012 manual provides plenty of reloading recipes for the new CFE™223 — 147 loads for 27 cartridges.
Along with comprehensive load data, the 2012 manual offers seven authoritative articles by top gun and outdoor industry writers. One interesting article covers economical hand-loading with lead free “green” bullets. Both competitive shooters and hunters will find other articles of interest.
You’ll find the 2012 Hodgdon manual at newsstands and gun stores in early 2012, priced at $8.99. You can also order direct by visiting Hodgdon.com or calling (912) 362-9455. (Direct sales price is $11.99.)
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 15th, 2010
Powder Valley, a major vendor of powder, primers, brass, bullets, and loaded ammo, has received some large shipments of popular powders including Hodgdon Varget and IMR 8208 XBR. Powder Valley also has the hard-to-find Alliant Reloder 17 powder in stock, in both 1-lb and 5-lb containers.
Powder Valley Now Stocks Factory-Loaded Ammo
FYI, Powder Valley is now stocking quality factory-loaded ammo from Lapua, Hornady, Nosler, Prvi Partizan, and Wolf. If you’re looking for match-grade Lapua factory ammo or the Hornady .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .30-06 ammo, give Powder Valley a call at 800-227-4299.
Powder Valley Inventory Updates on Facebook
IMR 8208: Finished up the backorders on 8208 8#. We received in about 200 kegs from Hodgdon last week and have filled backorders that were placed prior to June 25.
Powder Valley now posts recent product arrivals on Facebook. If you have a Facebook account you can link to the Powder Valley page to get the latest updates.
Large shipments of primers received over the last couple days. Received 2 million Winchester, 1.2 million Federal, 1.5 million Rem and 6 million Tula. Also received large shipment of Winchester brass.
Varget 8-lb jugs have arrived. We won’t update the website until Monday. Facebookers go ahead and put your order in now and you will get first dibs.
Received in about 2 million Remington primers. Also, received a large shipment of backorders from Berger. We will be receiving about 125,000 Federal Small Pistol primers later this week and about 2-2.5 million in 3-4 weeks. We will begin listing these primers on the website August 3 so you can place an order if you would like.
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March 15th, 2010
We have a “Palma/Tactical” project gun in the works built with an Eliseo chassis, Borden action, and one of Krieger’s very first 5R barrels. Initial load testing with Hodgdon Varget showed excellent accuracy potential, but we weren’t achieving the velocity we hoped to get from the 30″ medium-Palma-contour barrel. With Lapua brass and Varget we ran short of case capacity when seating bullets to mag-length, and the best accuracy came at about 2860 fps, well under competitive Palma velocities.
Mark LaFevers with .308 Win Eliseo Tubegun on SEB NEO front coaxial rest. Mark made the wood front bag-rider.
Chris Hodgdon kindly shipped us some H4895 and some of the new IMR 8208 XBR powder, lot #1022510-4798. In beautiful 70° conditions yesterday, we did a quick pressure work-up with both powders to determine “practical max” loads with the Berger 155.5gr Fullbore bullets (#30416). The 155.5s were loaded in once-fired Lapua brass with CCI BR2 primers, to a COAL of 2.860″, which is about .010″ short of land contact.
Varget-beating Speeds from Both IMR 8208 XBR and H4895
We loaded up two rounds at each charge weight, starting with the Hodgdon’s recommended starter load for a 155gr Sierra HPBT, as found in Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center. (There was no load listed for the 155.5gr Berger). It’s good that we started low because we saw immediately that both the 8208 XBR and the H4895 were yielding much more velocity, grain for grain, than Varget. Though we were not shooting for groups, the 8208 XBR also seemed to have a very large accuracy load window. Moreover, the velocity spreads for each two-round 8208 charge (above 43.0 grains) were remarkably low — none were more than 6 fps, and the velocities on our two 44.0-grain shots were exactly the same — 2992 fps. (This was NOT an error — the chron registered both shots #7 and #8.)
Of course, you can’t conclude much about ES/SD from just two shots, but the speed consistency in the 8208 was notable as you can see from the chart above. By contrast, each pair of H4895 shots varied in speed much more. For example, the two-shot ES for 43.0 grains of H4895 was 14 fps, while the two-shot 8208 XBR spread (for 43.0 grains) was 4 fps. It will be interesting to see if further testing confirms the low ES/SD potential of IMR 8208 XBR in the .308 Winchester.
We dispensed charges with an RCBS ChargeMaster calibrated and leveled on a granite bed. The 8208 XBR has smaller kernels than either Varget or H4895 and, as we expected, 8208 XBR dispensed very easily. The H4895, with longer kernels, dispensed fine in the ChargeMaster, but it took the machine more time to trickle the H4895.
As noted, we didn’t shoot for groups, but the IMR 8208 looked like it would shoot really well at anywhere from 43.0 to 44.0 grains. The H4895 proved accurate as well, at least in the high pressure ranges. We need to do 5-shot testing, over flags, before drawing any real conclusions. But right now we can say that, if you’re shooting a .308 with 150-155 grain bullets, you should definitely try the IMR 8208 XBR. It looks like a near-perfect match for the Palma-class bullets. The velocity is great, it appears the ES will be very low, and 8208 XBR packs more densely than Varget so you won’t have to run compressed loads.
Our most important discovery was that both 8208 XBR and H4895 offered significant velocity gains over Varget, at least in this rifle. It looks like 8208 XBR can run 2990 fps in this gun without pressure issues, while H4895 may top 3000 fps. Varget struggled to get much past 2900 fps.
IMPORTANT WARNING: The stated max load for IMR 8208 XBR with a Sierra 155gr HPBT was 45.3 grains, while the stated max load for H4895 (same bullet) was 46.0 grains. Note that, in this rifle, which has a tight 0.298″ Palma bore, we hit pressure limits well before reaching Hodgdon’s “book max.” Read that again carefully folks. Our 44.0 grain “practical max” for 8208 XBR was a FULL GRAIN less than the stated max load with a Sierra 155-grainer. Likewise we started getting stiff bolt lift at 44.3 grains of H4895 — a long way from the 46.0 grain stated max. So, the combination of a different bullet, and a tighter-than-normal bore made a significant difference in pressures. This is why, if you change ANY component in a load recipe you MUST start low for safety. And never assume that a factory “Max Load” is safe or “conservative”.
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January 28th, 2010
We know many of our readers are interested in the new IMR 8208 XBR powder distributed by Hodgdon Powder Company. Early test lots of this new propellant have already won important benchrest matches, and field testing has shown that it is extremely stable across a wide temperature range. At SHOT Show 2010, we interviewed Chris Hodgdon, who gave us the “inside story” on this new powder. Before we started taping, Chris shared with us lab test results showing how pressure of a fixed load varied with ambient temperature. The data was stunning. Basically 8208 XBR showed almost constant pressures from below freezing to well over 100° F. This editor has personally never seen a powder test that revealed “flat-line” results like 8208 XBR, with recorded pressures remaining virtually unchanged over a huge temperature range. If the test results are to be believed, this is indeed a very exceptional powder.
On some internet Forums, skeptics have suggested that IMR 8208 XBR is just an “odd lot of H322″, and that, accordingly, 8208 XBR may not be available for long. Chris told us that the skeptics are misinformed — those who have suggested that 8208 XBR is re-labeled H322 are completely wrong. IMR 8208 XBR IS something new and it IS here to stay. IMR 8208 XBR is NOT merely a “tweaked” blend of H322. Though 8208 XBR has small kernels like H322, allowing it to meter well, 8208 XBR is a completely new formulation. Moreover, IMR 8208 XBR is not going to be a “one-production-run” wonder. Chris explained that Hodgdon is fully committed to long-term production of this new powder. So if you acquire some now, and develop a great load, rest assured that you will be able to obtain more IMR 8208 XBR in the future. As Chris explains in the interview, Hodgdon is strongly committed to IMR 8208 XBR and Hodgdon plans to keep it in production for a long time.
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December 21st, 2009
Grafs.com has received a large shipment of the new IMR 8208 XBR powder. This is good news as Powder Valley recently sold out. Grafs.com has both 8-lb jugs for $149.99 (item IMR82088) as well as smaller 1-lb containers for $21.99 (item IMR82081).
If you haven’t heard about IMR 8208 XBR, this is a very promising new powder that is very accurate, meters well, and is much less temp sensitive than other powders of similar burn rate. This powder should be ideal for many applications including .223 Rem, .204 Ruger, 6 PPC, and .308 Winchester. Will 8208 XBR work in a 6BR or Dasher with heavy bullets? We’ll let you know soon — we’re planning to test it ourselves with an 8-twist 6mm BR.
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December 18th, 2009
We just spoke to Bryan at Powder Valley. He confirmed that right now (0800 PST, Friday, Dec. 18th), Powder Valley has some IMR 8208 XBR on the shelves. All the 8-lb jugs are sold out, but Powder Valley still has roughly 100 1-lb bottles of IMR 8208 XBR. The price is $19.00 per pound, PLUS haz-mat and shipping.
Those interested in trying this promising new powder should contact Powder Valley immediately. Log on to powdervalleyinc.com or call (800) 227-4299.
If you want this powder, then act quickly. It may sell out within a few hours.
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December 17th, 2009
IMR 8208 XBR is a new powder to be released by Hodgdon in January, 2010. The powder is said to be extremely accurate, and Hodgdon believes it will set new standards for stability across a wide temperature range. We spoke to Chris Hodgdon last week and he confirmed that “the 8208 XBR is packaged and ready to go. We plan to start shipping in quantity starting January 4th”.
Schmidt Tests IMR 8208 XBR with 6 PPC Railgun
Is the new powder as good as early reports have suggested? Ace Benchrest shooter Jackie Schmidt recently tested IMR 8208 XBR with his 6PPC rail gun. The results were very impressive. (Test observer 333 Smitty said: “This was the best testing session I have ever witnessed — It looks like the new 8208 is a huge success!”)
Shooting five, 5-shot groups, Jackie put together an .0976 Agg. His last two groups, both using weighed 8208 XBR loads, were in the zeros. (See target photo.) Jackie was shooting his Unlimited Rail with 65gr “Bartail” bullets, Fed 205 primers. The barrel was a 23.5″ straight-contour Kreiger with a 1:13.5″ twist. Conditions were “were really nice, just a gentle ebb and flow” with temps in the 50s and about 60% humidity.
Here is Jackie’s report, originally posted in the Benchrest Central Forum:
“I first started out with my ’08 Vihtavuori N133, just to see if the Rail was on its game. After a few 3-shot groups to find the window, I settled in on 30.4 grains with a 65gr Barts Boattail. I then nailed a nice 5-shot ‘zero’ that you can see on the far left, second row up. Average velocity was 3470 fps.
I then switched over to the 8208 XBR. I started with a load that Tom Libby recommended, 31.3 grains. While it did not nail a ‘zero’, you can see it shot pretty well. The average velocity for the five record shots was 3430 fps.
I then decided to drop the load down into another window, a flat 30.0 grains. The average velocity was 3320, and as you can see, the group opened up. I felt like I hit the condition just right on each shot. Maybe a little cool for this light of a load.
We then decided to up the charge until it matched the velocity of the N133. This took 31.8 grains. With a slow trickle this was just about half-way up into the neck. The group was really nice, so I decided to try the load again, only weighing each charge. The results were the group you see on the far right. That is really probably about a .040″, pretty darned small. The average velocity on both groups was about 3470 fps.
I then decided to go back to the 31.3 grain charge, but weighing each charge this time. The results were another nice “zero”. The velocity was the same as before, but the total spread on this group was only 12 fps.”
IMR 8208 Also Shoots Well in Sporter Rifle
Jackie reports: “I then pulled out my Sporter, and put the 31.8 grain XBR load in. I shot a couple of 3-shot groups that were about .110, then shot a 5-shot group that was a ‘zero’ for the first four. But I missed the last condition, and opened it up to about a .180, straight to the right.”
Observations and Conclusions
Jackie writes: “So, what did I find out? First, this stuff is more dense than N133. I can barely get the 30.4 grain N133 load in the case, but there is no problem at all getting the XBR in at darned near 32.0 grains. This shows that, by weight, XBR is slower than the ’08 N133.
The 8208 XBR also burned just as clean as N133. I could not tell the difference in the patches that came out after shooting N133 and the XBR. Also, this stuff meters VERY WELL. Much more consistant than N133. While I started weighing charges, I could count on the XBR out of my Hensler Measure to be within ± 0.1 grain. I simply cannot do this with N133.
An added note, the Rail Gun has a 23 1/2 inch barrel, the Sporter a 21 1/2. With the same load, I saw an average 70 to 80 fps slower velocity out of the shorter barrel. These two barrels are just about identical in the land and groove diameter, both .237 4-groove Kriegers[.] I guess this shows that some of the powder is still burning at 21 1/2 inches.
I showed that yes, at 52 degrees overcast and dreary, I made the stuff shoot pretty darned good. But, I do not have a clue what will happen when the weather changes. Only time will tell.
That about covers it. This new powder will shoot, and velocity is certainly not a problem. I had zero problems with any pressure signs, the handle on the Diamondback on the Rail and the Bat action on the Sporter lifted really easy on all loads, and the primers looked nice, with a generous radius still on the outside edge.”
|General Comments — Can 8208 XBR Live Up to Expectations?
Jackie offered these general thoughts about IMR 8208 XBR and how it stacks up versus Vihtavuori N133:
“I have been shooting Benchrest since the mid ’90s, and I can’t think of a single product causing this much excitement, or generating this much hype. Just what are everyone’s expectations? Being able to arrive at a competitive tune, and have it stay there all day? Being able to shoot in the upper window without wrecking the brass? Being able to concentrate on the actual ‘shooting’ rather than worrying about the rifle going ‘vertical’ at any moment?
As of now, a few shooters have been able to test this new powder and found it to be capable of producing good velocity, and great groups. But, the realities of the ‘Competitive Arena’ can be very harsh. Nothing is more aggravating than trying to keep up with the pack when your rifle is locked into a .300 tune, and try as you do, nothing seems to work. We have all been there.
My expectations are that the new powder will be more stable in the perameters that govern that all important ‘Agging Capability’. By that I mean that if the rifle does get a little ragged, just a little tweek one way or another will get it back. Or even better, that the rifle will stay reasonably competitive over a day’s worth of aggregates without fear of getting so ragged that your entire day is ruined by two bullet holes worth of vertical.
This is a tough sell. But then, this is a tough game. I, for one, really hope that this new powder is more ‘user friendly’, so Benchrest can get back to being more about shooting, rather than chasing loads all day long.
N133 is probably the most used powder in 100-200 yard Benchrest today. It is also, at the same time, the biggest source of aggravation. If it is right, nothing can beat it. But, as we all know, if it isn’t quite right, the fun can go away real quick. One of the Holy Grails of Benchrest has always been how to make N133 shoot over an entire Aggregate.”
Photos Courtesy G.A. Villarreal, used with permission.
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